A new social care research learning community has been launched to support people working in social care, or academic researchers with close links to practice, to take effective action and leading roles to develop research capacity in social care across England.

Funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the social care capacity building learning community is being led by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS), as part of 15 regional ARCs working together to support applied health and care research that responds to and meets the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

As the national lead ARC for Social Care and the lead for the National Priority Area programme in Adult Social Care across all ARCs, ARC KSS was selected to build and grow this community of social care researchers, across all regions, by providing a dedicated and inclusive environment for members with expertise within practice, as well as academia, to develop and/ or expand their skills in social care research.

Dr Stacey Rand, Senior Research Fellow and Social Care Capacity Building Lead, at ARC KSS, said:

"The aim of our learning community is to support the career development of social care researchers by upskilling the workforce to develop and progress, understand how to better build social care capacity, so that people working in social care can take on, be involved in, and benefit from research. By embracing a collaborative approach and working together, we will be able to better support our communities, without duplicating work."

The national social care capacity building learning community, is part of an investment of more than £4 million from the NIHR, on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), to support and further build research capacity in the social care sector.

In addition, the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex has received additional funding to offer social care capacity building posts and fellowships to local researchers, from a wide range of backgrounds, to build research culture and infrastructure in social care, especially in under-served communities and in geographic areas where social needs are greatest.

As part of ARC KSS's work to build capacity in social care research in the region, they will be offering Fellowship Awards to individuals working in adult social care, who wish to develop their research skills and career.

These Awards will be advertised on the ARC KSS website in the Spring. A webinar with Q&A about the Awards will be held on Monday 29 April 2024 (10.30-11.30am). To register your interest, click here.

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